When it comes to the Miami Dolphins 2019 season, there is no shortage of opinions. Just glance at Twitter or Facebook and you’ll see opinions posted on every topic you can imagine about the team, some by people convinced that their opinions aren’t just opinion, but should be chiseled in stone as fact.
Annoying? Yep. Especially to those like me whose opinions are always right (just don’t tell my wife I said that; she has this eye-roll thing she does and, well anyway…).
After watching the Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, even the national media weighed in on their perception of the Dolphins, especially after an all-out blitz on a 3rd-and-20 play resulted in an easy touchdown for the Steelers just before the half.
And that got me thinking: I'm convinced we as fans all suffer from something called perception bias. And before you quit reading and go post something about what a dumbass thing that is to accuse you (and you, and you, and even you) of, let me explain.
Think back to recent seasons and take a look at how you felt about a polarizing topic like, say Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins quarterback.
If we hated Ryan Tannehill, then we spent every game dissecting his every play, noticing his flaws and picking out his mistakes. For every argument that Tannehill was a top-12 QB (as he was in 2016), there were ten arguments showing how he lacked pocket presence and took too many sacks.
If we loved Tannehill, we noticed every great play and every perfect throw. If someone criticized Tannehill in a post, we jumped in to say that no one would succeed behind that sieve of an offensive line, or posted a video showing a 50-yard throw that hit the receiver perfectly in stride for a touchdown.
And no matter what was said, no matter what happened in games, your opinion never wavered.
My point is, regardless of which side of the argument you stood, you viewed every game with that perception guiding your thoughts and opinions.
And that brings us to 2019, where nothing is more polarizing than the Ever-Loving Season of The Tank.
The same thing is happening this season. If you are convinced the team is tanking down to the coaching level, then every play that doesn't work is your evidence of that; every mistake proves your point.
If (like me) you believe the tank is only in the front office, denying good talent to a team that is otherwise doing all they can with the tools at their disposal, you look at that 3rd-and-20 play in that Monday night game and see that if pressure from the defensive blitz had gotten there a half-second sooner, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph might have rushed the pass and thrown off-target, as he'd been doing throughout most of the night to that point when pressured. It was good play call; it just didn’t work as planned.
That is just one example, but I think it’s enough to make my point. I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it, everyone’s guilty of it. It’s not wrong or right, but it is something to strongly consider as you watch the rest of this season play out, and see discussion on which player is most deserving of the first overall pick in the NFL draft next April. See, you have a strong (and deeply biased) opinion on that too, don’t you? Told ya.
This season in general, every detail is being scrutinized through biased opinions, both by us and by local and national reporters. And if you approach a situation with a biased opinion, you'll only see what substantiates that opinion.
Think about that previous paragraph.
And keep that in mind the next time you watch the Dolphins play.
This article was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
Latest Dolphins News